Understanding Steel Spring Manufacturing Terms, Part 1

Within the world of custom spring manufacturing, springs are broken up into different classifications based on several factors, including the materials used for them. Some such classifications might be a tad confusing for non-professionals in this realm, but some are also simple – including the raw materials used.

At Custom Spring Manufacturing, we use a variety of materials to manufacture our custom compression springs, conical springs, torsion springs and many other options. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over some simple explanations of various spring steel terms and formats that are often used within our world, including what they mean to you and how they’re involved in your spring manufacturing needs.

steel spring manufacturing terms

Metal

Metal is a broad term used to classify various elements, including gold, silver or copper. These elements are opaque, ductile and bring a luster. It’s important to note that these primary elements themselves are not directly used in manufacturing springs – rather, these are the “building block” elements that make up steel, including iron, which is the most common element found in steel.

Steel

As by far the most common material used for spring manufacturing, steel is important to understand. The term refers to artificially produced forms of iron that contain various quantities of carbon, plus possible other alloys or materials. The amounts of carbon and these other alloys determine various properties of the steel and how it’s classified.

Virtually all springs are made from steel, though some modern options include plastic choices as well. But as you’ll see in our subsequent section, the details within the steel realm are very important for spring manufacturing.

Alloy

Alloys refer to two or more metals mixed together, or a metal with non-metal content. Essentially, alloys speak to the way the steel is processed – many steel types have similar chemical makeups, but they are not processed the same. Think of it similarly to cooking eggs: All eggs are relatively similar to begin with, but they come out very differently depending on whether you scramble them, make them over-easy or any other choice.

There are numerous factors at play when choosing the steel alloy to use for spring manufacturing. Our team will consider everything from conductivity and constant modulus to corrosion resistance, magnetism, platability, heat hardenability, stress and even temperature.

Carbon

Carbon is the most common form of steel, generally used for processes like hard-drawn, oil-tempered or music wire steel – the least expensive and most frequently-used types. Part of this popularity is due to a low price, but another big factor is the oily environment many springs are used in: Springs with carbon in them are protected by the oil and there’s no risk of corrosion or rust.

For more on various steel terms used in the spring manufacturing world, or to learn about any of our other custom spring products, speak to the staff at Custom Spring Manufacturing today.